An early strike from midfielder Ngo Quang Thuan was enough to give Vietnam a hard-fought 1-0 win over Malaysia as they now seem poise to win Group B of the AFF Under-15 Championship 2017.
In the game which could well decide the group winner, Vietnam settled in early as compared to their early matches when they struggled at the start of the game.
And while the Malaysians – who had yet to concede a goal before this game – were taking time to find their footing, an early foray into the Malaysian box allowed Vietnam to score in the third minute.
Quang Thanh pounced on the ball ahead of Malaysian defender Muhammad Nuh Azlan Mohd Yusof to strike the ball from a tight angle to beat Malaysian keeper Abdul Halim Amri Ali.
But the young Malaysians did not lose heart and soon they were stringing passes together in search of the equaliser and in spite of several freekicks near the Vietnam box, they just can’t seem to put the ball into the net.
With the win, Vietnam have amassed 12 points from four matches played with only a game against Timor Leste to complete their fixtures.
For Malaysia, their loss was compounded further by the red card on Harith Jaineh, who picked up two yellow cards in the game.
On the other hand, Cambodia’s hope of a place in the next round was seriously dented when they were handed with a 2-0 loss by Brunei DS.
The Sultanate side picked up their first win of the game with two well-taken freekicks from Mohd Addy Zaky Billah Awang Raimi (56th and 65th minute).
While the win gave Brunei some cheer, the loss will see Cambodia having to beat Malaysia by at least four goals should they aspire for a place in the semi-finals.
In the meantime the Philippines also picked up their first win in the group when they did just enough to beat Timor Leste 2-0.
It was by no means spectacular football but the Philippines made full use of some scrappy Timorese defending to score through Asignar Rupert Gonzales in the 15th minute and then from Ferrer Padermal in the 58th minute.
RESULTS – GROUP B
16 July 2017
Philippines 2 Timor Leste 0
Cambodia 0 Brunei DS 2
Malaysia 0 Vietnam 1
FIXTURES – GROUP A
17 July 2017
1600: Australia vs Laos
1830: Thailand vs Myanmar
1600: Singapore vs Indonesia
CURRENT GROUP A STANDINGS (as at 16 July 2017)
CURRENT GROUP B STANDINGS
NOTE: Teams in bold qualify for semi-finals